Do you want to know what you will be eating in 2019, and why?
And just who does start a food trend? Is it the consumer, food writers, celebrities the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow or Beyoncé, organisations like the CSIRO that research and publish reports, chefs like Jamie Oliver and their myriad books, five-star restaurants or national supermarket buyers?
At the end of October, US supermarket giant Kroger announced its food trend predictions for 2019, compiled by their new-product developers, chefs and innovators.
The top five trends were identified as regional flavours, plant-based foods, flexible eating styles, good-for-your-gut foods and low-sugar and natural sweeteners.
So, does Australia follow suit, or march to its own beat?
FoodWorks has more than 500 independent supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Australia and, according to spokesperson Mick Guerin, the main food trend for 2019 is “customers shopping more frequently but with a smaller basket”.
“In the past, we shopped once or twice a week and filled a trolley, but now we see shoppers coming in four to five times each week and buying the meal for tonight, or to entertain, so their choices are different,” he said.
“Accordingly, retail must evolve to supply this change in behaviour and the changing needs of the consumer,” Mr Guerin said.
He says that this could mean a dedicated cheese fridge in the deli section offering a contemporary entertaining range, or an increase in vegan products.
According to Mr Guerin, as independent retailers, FoodWorks stores can customise their offering to their local customers, be it a particular ethnic diversity or socioeconomic group.
“Customers are looking more and more for a bespoke offering that is different, and gives them the range of products they desire,” Mr Guerin said.
Shannon Martinez, head chef, author and co-owner of Melbourne’s Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli, says the trend of Kroger’s predicted “plant-based foods” trend for 2019 is a global one.
“People in general know that the way we eat currently is not sustainable. We know that we need to change the way we eat. Both for the environment and for our health,” said Ms Martinez who is also a self-confessed High Priestess of veganism advocacy group, the Church of Seitan.
Ms Martinez will be keeping Smith & Daughters’ menu Italian in 2019 with summer tomatoes, fresh pasta, berries and stone fruits.
She says summer is an exciting time for plant-based cuisine. Meanwhile her mission for the rest of the year will be continuing to push against the stereotypes of vegan food.
“I hope to show people that there’s more to plant-based dining than a chickpea curry and a raw vegetable lasagne,” Ms Martinez said.
For Emily Hazell, owner of Serotonin Eatery, “food as medicine” is the strongest food trend for 2019.
“The Serotonin Power Diet, written by Dr Judith Wurtman, has been gaining in popularity,” Ms Hazell said, having established her café after experiencing depression and using food to recalibrate herself.
“The crux of the Serotonin Power Diet is the idea that one can use food as medicine – to not only heal, but also prevent disease. She also talks about how you can use food to stabilise your mood, which is something I couldn’t agree with more.”
Layered into the Serotonin Diet trend, Ms Hazell believes the use of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic cooking and eating are here to stay for 2019 and beyond.
Like Mr Guerin and Ms Martinez, Ms Hazell says that, as consumers, it is us who have the power to shape the world in terms of trends of what we eat.